LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Muhammad Qasim Khan on Thursday directed the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) to stop all kinds of construction work in illegal housing schemes established on the agriculture land and suspend the amnesty being given to them.

“Not a single wall or window should be constructed in a society developed on the agricultural land,” the chief justice warned the legal adviser to the LDA.

Chief Justice Khan was hearing a petition against the establishment of housing schemes on greenbelts.

The petitioner’s counsel pointed out that the LDA had announced an amnesty scheme to regularise the illegal housing schemes after payment of fine. He said the floodgates of corruption had been opened in the LDA in the name of the amnesty scheme.

Suspends amnesty for illegal schemes

Chief Justice Khan disapproved a water commission, headed by retired justice Ali Akbar Qureshi, which proposed amnesty for the illegal societies and observed that apparently the purpose of the scheme was to protect the mafia.

The LDA’s counsel said action could not be taken against the schemes having stay orders issued from the courts in their favour.

However, CJ Khan remarked that the LDA did not bother for a stay order when it wanted to take action against someone. He also expressed his surprise over the wholesale construction of the housing societies without an approval from the LDA.

The CJ directed the LDA counsel to ensure no construction work was carried out in the housing schemes set up on the green land areas and summoned the authority’s director general on Feb 2.

Earlier, the LDA counsel informed the court that at least 241 societies had been found involved in violation of greenbelts. He said notices had been issued to these housing societies and they had been stopped from providing the power, water and gas connections. He further stated that a ban had been imposed on the sale of land in such societies.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2021

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